Dream homes – everybody has one. From cliff-side modern marvels to majestic traditional mansions and waterside homes with enviable views, a dream house has the elements to elevate your lifestyle. Look through HomeDSGN’s collection of featured dream homes and be inspired for your next upgrade or remodel…or just fantasize about living in them!
Nestled in the trees above a lake in Keowee Springs, in the heart of South Carolina, innovative designers at Johnston Design Group recently completed the unique, cutting edge, and rather divine looking Sustainable Lakehouse.
What makes the house so incredibly unique is the way designers combined the most modernized and state of the art home sustainability technology with architectural techniques and decor choices that give both the facade and interior a pleasant, nearly old fashioned feeling aesthetic despite the fact that the house is newly built.
One of the primary foals in building the house was to create a space where the stunning views its location is afforded can be seen from just about any place, inside or out. This explains the many beautiful outdoor living areas and balconies varying in size, as well as the large windows found all throughout, on every floor.
Because the house sits atop a rocky hill, the view of the surrounding greenery leading down to the lake’s edge is practically unparalleled. It stands several storeys high in addition to the heigh it’s already afforded, meaning that every different window and balcony or outdoor living space it offers gives guests a slightly different angle or view from which to enjoy soaking in the countryside.
In terms of its aesthetic and decor scheme, designers have stated that their choices in materiality and style were inspired by the English Arts & Crafts movement. The intention is for the home to appear hands-on, stately in a way that might have been built by one’s own efforts, and comfortable, while still bearing an air of sophistication.
Regarding the systems that make the home so sustainable as to be name after its leading features, designers installed systems and analyzed local standards in order to make the way the house runs and saves or uses energy meet the USGBC LEED for Home list of standards and requirements. This means the building is truly one that qualifies as being part of the “green living” movement.
Entering the house through a beautiful reclaimed wood door, the first thing guests encounter is the impressive great room. This is comfortable and traditional looking in a comfortable way, and leads right outside onto a beautiful ground level terrace. This is the first spot where picture perfect views of the lake are offered. On chillier days, one can stay inside and see a similar view through high, bright limestone cased windows.
On one side of the great room is a towering floor to ceiling fireplace clad in the same coursed limestone featured on the walls. The chimney section of this is adorned with a decorative and ornate looking 19th century iron door imported from Italy. This feature makes the space look nearly medieval, anchoring the sitting area in a space that, as you move towards the kitchen, starts to look a little more contemporary.
In fact, the energy efficiency systems that start in the kitchen and move throughout the rest of the house are so contemporary and up to standard that the house was awarded the US Green Building Council LEED Silver Certification. There might only be a few telltale visual markers of these things on first glance, but that’s part of the charm!
As you begin to move throughout the house, you might notice just how diverse but still rooted in nature and tradition the materials used in building the house are. The roof is a dark slate that ties things together visually. The walls and porch are a smooth limestone accented with intentionally weathered but impressive cedar siding on the inside. Other details are finished and added in metals; in different places, you’ll encounter copper and reclaimed wrought iron.
Both outside and inside the house, most lighting, heating, and water systems are solar powered, thanks to subtle panels installed on the side of the slate roof that gets the most light year-round. The house also has a rainwater harvesting system and Low-E aluminum clad windows.
In addition to the things that make the house energy efficient and globally low impact, designers also made several choices during the building and landscaping processes that lowered the localized impact on the environment. They made very intention choices in sourcing natural materials from the local area and they also used native plants that fit the plot’s ecosystem in putting together the yards and gardens.
Perhaps the best place to truly appreciate the mountain lake view we’ve raved so much about is the middle terrace, which is a cool stone spot amongst the trees that feels just secluded enough to be relaxed but not so much that it appears isolated. Here, a wonderfully old fashioned wrought iron staircase spirals upwards to the patio doors of the master bedroom, truly resembling something out of a fairytale.
Photos by Rachael Boling Photography
By Courtney • Jun 11, 2019
In the lush woodland greenery of Lake Tahoe in California, the Luxury Lake Lodge was recently completed by Ward-Yonge Architecture for a family seeking a sophisticated holiday home that might also help them share authentic, old fashioned experiences and benefit from nature with their friends and loved ones.
Built like a gorgeous sprawling lodge, this impressive stone home is located just north of primary Lake Tahoe itself. Spanning 8,900 square feet, its traditional looking expanse lets guests take in gorgeous woods filled and lakeland views from just about every room in the house. The location is secluded but relaxed rather than isolated, while the atmosphere inside the house is grand but comfortable.
Boasting five bedrooms, five fireplaces, a four car garage, and more than one stunning outdoor living space, the house is more than equipped to host all the guests the owners could wish for. The central spiral staircase that leads from one floor to the other is an attention grabbing piece every time, but not as heavily as the stunning main terrace that gives easy access to swim in the lake.
On the outside, the house features traditional Vermont style slate roofing, high copper panelled turrets, and a stone exterior that, despite being quite typical of the area, is breathtaking in this layout. Massive reclaimed wooden beams frame the house and mirror the wood in the door while wrought iron details make up the metal features. The material choices in this house were intentional, designed to reflect old fashioned craftsmanship of eras gone by.
Part of the appeal of the natural materiality this luxury home has to offer is that it blends wonderfully into the overall scenery and manages not to interrupt the view from other places nearby. It suits the landscape but, once you’ve laid eyes on it and identified its formidable structure, you can’t hardly look away from the feat of architecture that makes up its different parts.
The way that the same materiality follows you inside is intentional and impactful as well. The stone makes things feel authentically rustic and suitable for the setting while the wood draws together a send of warmth. Ornate decor pieces and state of the art amenities create a blending of aesthetics and establish that sense of luxury designers were aiming for from the outset.
Up the winding staircase, expansive bedrooms with kind sized beds covered in soft cushions make every guest feel like the laird of a medieval royal lodge. Despite the fact that most decor is set to adult tastes there are certain elements, like the authentically carpeted wood and wrought iron bridge that leads from one wing of the upstairs to the other, lined on each side with ornate wrought iron railings like something from a castle, is sure to enamour even the youngest visitors.
Photos by Vance Fox Photography
In the beautiful, sprawling suburbs of Berwick, Australia, innovative designers and architects at Atelier red+black recently completed a family home, the House in Silhouette, that is nothing short of stunning.
The site upon which the house sits is an impressive slope of 1.6 acres. It sits on the edge of a city, close enough for great access to amenities, but far enough outside the busy limits to feel a bit like a calm escape. The size of the plot and the new home that sits upon it is perfect for a small hobby farm, or perhaps ownership of a horse or two!
The natural beauty of this piece of land encouraged designers to build the new home without actually interfering with it as much as they possibly could. They sought to create an experiential dwelling that fit with its slightly countryside setting but that still provides a contemporary influenced lifestyle for the young family moving in.
The result was a durable and comfortable Australian house with a farmhouse chic aesthetic. It possesses two distinct volumes with a recessed hallway link between them and gables outside. The clean looking white painted brick found in the facade is neatly accented with dark steel elsewhere in the frame and furnished features. That playful contrast of light and dark is a theme you’ll find all throughout the home, which helps blend it more subtly into the countryside.
Flexibility, functionality, and free space were central tenets when it came to planning the home itself and how it might be used. A sense of luxury was requested for the retired owners, but style, diversity, and simple use were also required for multi-generational extended family who might live there intermittently throughout the year.
As far as bedrooms are concerned, the occasional residence of extended family was accounted for in the smaller gabled wing of the house. Here, three comforting and sizeable bedrooms were built with various branches of the family in mind and set behind sliding doors that can be thrown open for welcoming space and flow or closed off when the wing isn’t being used.
Flexibility within certain spaces was also prioritized during the design and construction process. The goal was to provide all different family members present with the freedom to use the room how they need or please at any given moment in order to create an overarching sense of satisfaction to everyone in the space on any given day.
Designers wanted to be able to present the family with a house that they could somewhat mould, nest into, and make their own over time, rather than just giving them a rigidly divided structure with specific functions limiting the way each room might be used. They wanted to provide open, comfortable rooms that might be used for work, play, study, relaxation or nearly anything else interchangeably.
Views of nature and the presence of light play a large rope in the experience of the home as well. Rooms and windows were purposely situated to ensure that each room in the house gets some kind of green scenery in one direction or another through the high, clear windows. At the back of the house, natural light was actually prioritized so highly that a small “light courtyard” was built specifically to make sure the family room stays adequately bright.
This additional small courtyard was not just wasted space or single function! Designers saw it as a light source and an opportunity for additional garden space! They used the courtyard to incorporate more greenery and also the presence of bluestone, which is a reflection of its natural occurrence in the landscape around the house and Berwick’s history of quarrying the stone in past decades.
Photos by Peter Bennetts
German Villa Hohenlohe created by PHILIPPARCHITEKTEN for modern living with as much sunlight as possible!
By Courtney • Jun 4, 2019
The German named Villa Hohenlohe, which translates to House Phillip, was built by PHILIPPARCHITEKTEN as an impressively cubic dwelling that looks almost like a sculpture sitting near the mountains in Waldenburg, Germany.
Because of its stunning but unique location perched on a small mountain ridge, House Phillip presented both opportunities and challenges to designers and construction teams alike. No matter how the new house might be situated, it was sure to provide views of unparalleled beauty to the North, but it also required strong anchoring to an uneven terrain.
Designers knew immediately that they view was paramount, so one of the first features they incorporated into the home was the central glazed and frameless window setting that appears to make an entirely see-through wall along one side of the home’s main “cube”. This gives the rooms directly inside plenty of natural sunlight and enhances the concept of living in harmony with nature, blending it right into the home experience and visual.
As they developed beyond these main windows, designers envisioned the basic structure of what they were building to be like a cube encased in a glass box. Inside, to offset the sleek materiality of the facade and the streamlined shapes throughout, comfort is added to the common spaces through elm wood detailing and furnishings. This lovely neutral finish travels through out the kitchen, across the staircase, and into the upper levels of the cube.
Following the wood upward, and cantilevered top floor give the appearance that the private spaces are almost floating lightly above the glass box of the bright ground floor. In a very unique act of space usage, a long hallway with impressive width stretches from one side of the upper floor all the way to the other, doubling as a space in which the kids can play games.
This central upper hallway also boasts almost 15 metres of closet space built into the walls, giving the home generous storage, even for its size; a particular bonus for a large family. This isn’t the only feature that’s fit for fast paced family life. The cube’s main entrance is quite grand and stately but, in order to keep it that way for visitors, you’ll find the “dirt trap” just off to the side.
The first trap is a casual family entrance that’s equipped a little better for things like rain covered jackets and little muddy shoes. The space features a locker for each child in the family to store their daily outwear in, helping to keep them organized in the mornings and evenings and contain clutter as much as possible from spilling into the main entrance and living room. The first trap even features its own sink for hand washing!
We’ve already gushed liberally about the presence of smooth, light elm wood, but the living room brings in several other complementary elements in terms of materiality. Here, you’ll also find light grey Spanish sandstone amidst the wood and other finely finished white surfaces. These mimic the white faced concrete walls in the home’s cubic face and create a sense of consistency.
The final point on the complete sentence of nature’s inclusion in the home’s plans and respect for the scenery around it is the old pear tree rooted right outside the entrance. Its warped, authentic shape that constitutes part of the natural history of the land provides the yard with some shade no hot days and softens the edges of the cube to blend even more with the mountainside.
Photos by Oliver Schuster
Romanian Evening on the Hill designed by Fabrica de arhitectura to provide owners with a private haven in an urban setting
By Courtney • May 31, 2019
Just past the city centre of Bucharest, Romania, a lovely family home called Evening on the Hill was designed and built by Fabrica de Arhitectura to provide a family with more privacy, calm, and quiet despite their close proximity to the excitement and convenience that city life provides.
Because the area chosen for the house, though slightly removed from the downtown core, is still so densely populated, the designers on this project took several measures with the primary aim of giving the family a more intimate environment in which to live. At the same time, they sought to built a home with an efficient eco-design and smart energy use in order to keep costs down.
Part of the work in making the space feel slightly more secluded than it really is was already achieve in the fact that the plot sits on a small private road, set away from the main drag. Here, only five homes have been built, with no plans for more. On that road, a sense of community is built within the privacy and peaceful seclusion, almost like those neighbours are their own little full community.
Besides sharing a road, the homes surrounding the new house also share a courtyard (which is central for socializing but has been divided into smaller units to portion fair space to each family), an indoor swimming pool, and a relaxing communal spa area. Access to these stunning features is reserved for residents of the road and their guests only, keeping things clean and making it feel like an extension of one’s actual home.
As a result of these fantastic shared amenities, a unique blending of semi-public and private space is established. This enhances the residents’ sense of community with each other but, thanks to the foliage surrounding each house and every shared space, still restricts the area from the wider world enough that one might also feel closer to nature and the quiet that green spaces offer.
Inside the new house, as is true with the others, that sense of shared space but easy access to private calm is continued. The homes are carefully decorated down to the smallest detail, featuring traditional Romanian motifs within the interior design scheme of each one. Visual patterns and local natural materiality are combined in each home’s living spaces, creating an aesthetic that is carefully balanced between local cultural living and contemporary lifestyles.
As if these features weren’t enough, the houses themselves were actually even placed and situated with strategy. Each one sits in a direction, with a very intentional room arrangement, such that one might enjoy their morning coffee while watching the sunrise from their living room and then, later in the day, witness the sunset from the comfort of their bedroom on the other side of the house. Serenity and nature combine once more in this unique element.
Photos by Cosmin Dragomir
Multiple Courtyard House by Poetic Space Studio features almost as many private outdoor spaces as interior rooms
By Courtney • May 31, 2019
On the outskirts of Bangkok in Thailand, a stunningly bright and open family home called Multiple Courtyard House was specifically designed by Poetic Space Studio to take advantage of the beautiful weather through, as its name suggests, multiple lovely outdoor courtyards!
The house was commissioned by a family looking to resettle themselves in the calmer edges of the city, away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown core where they’d lived previously. Their standard city-style row house simply wouldn’t do for their seven multi-generational family members any longer, particularly since they all had different needs based on their different ages.
Besides just needing more physical space in general, the growing children were also finding a need for more personal space of their own inside the home as well. Additionally, the family and designers alike wanted to prioritize an increase in common and social spaces where family members might do activities together and bond despite the increase in private time and areas.
Although still quite agricultural, the area the new house was built in is afforded all close by amenities by virtue of the fact that is sits in a sort of small, calm suburb of Bangkok. This means living is still urban and convenient while room is afforded for the house and family to spread out. Dreams of having their own kitchen garden for example, might finally come true!
The home’s angled and stacked looking exterior features impressively tall glazed windows and smoothly wooden slatted doors that make it resemble a sort of spa. Even from the outside, onlookers can see the blinds that one might pull down when the summer sun becomes too intense and the abundant natural daylight that spills in from every direction can be spared.
Inside the house, six bedrooms and a large shared bathroom make up the private wing, while the half of the house across from it, through the front hall, houses the common spaces. Although not small, the bedrooms are quite modest. They give each family member that much needed privacy without taking up too much space in the house so that shared family areas can still be prioritized as far as layout is concerned.
This is the first way that the home’s multiple courtyards serve a functional purpose. The smaller courtyard extends such that it creates a small spatial division between the private and public sectors, making the bedrooms feel even more like one’s own without actually secluding them or closing them away. the sunny little courtyard with its small water feature is simply a visual demarcation of function, as well as a place to relax. It also sits in the centre of the layout, anchoring the house.
Besides that, two other courtyards can be enjoyed. The largest main courtyard features a cool, serene swimming pool and a luscious green garden. The two together create a space of relaxation and calm where one can always seek sunlight and fresh air. Because of the way the interior living spaces open right onto the courtyard’s patio, it becomes the central hub of most family activity and social time.
The third courtyard, which is small like the first, is home to a lovely flowering tree to the size of the bedroom wing. Inset into the home’s structure between the two sides of the wing, it simultaneously increases privacy from one set of rooms to the other but also presents another common space in which family members might spend quiet time together.
Photos by Songtam Srinakarin
The Chalet du Bois Flotté built by BOOM TOWN to mimic the first homes every built along the St Lawrence Valley
By Courtney • May 29, 2019
Amidst the stunning waterside greenery of La Malbaie in Canada, innovative designers and architectural teams at BOOM TOWN has created The Chalet du Bois Flotté in the image of the first homes originally built all along the St Lawrence Valley.
In English, the home is aptly named The Driftwood Chalet. It sits delicately on a gently sloping terrace of land, overlooking Cap-a-l’Aigle and the Malbaie River. The view provided by this vantage point affords the home a breathtaking view of the river’s winding shape and slow tides. The chalet features the traditional gabled roof and rectangular structure of those original historical homes it’s intended to emulate so closely.
The chalet consists of two clear but seamlessly connected volume. These are joined at right angles to each other in order to create a full structure that looks refined even as it appears rustic. The roof, which is made of locally sourced steel, extends in certain places to provide coverage over the edges of the walls, contrasting well with the cedar of the gables.
The chalet was built with not just the possibility of wear and weathering in mind, but rather the purposeful intention of accommodating it and letting it become part of the building’s character and aesthetic. Designers used cedar partially for the way that contact with the fresh sea air will gradually oxidize it, giving it that particularly lovely silvery quality that is so characteristic and notorious in seaside dwellings.
The way the chalet is nestled into the land terrance on which it sits lets the indoor spaces it provides merge seamlessly with the outdoors for a stunning indoor-outdoor blending experience. This is particularly true where the two volumes of the house meet. All around the outer walls, large windows provide unparalleled views and give the interior spaces abundant light.
The strategic use of metal contrasted with light cedar wood undoubtedly gives the home a sense of authenticity, but also a sort of charming pre-worn quality, almost like it’s actually made of driftwood that has been carried by the currents of the water it overlooks. It is impressive but modest nestled into the landscape, contributing to the beauty rather than interrupting it.
The inside of the house is similarly modern and rustic at once, providing all the amenities of contemporary living with that same authentic looking rustic character. The decor scheme is typical of Scandinavian approaches to interiors. The floors are polished concrete from the entrance all the way to the full hight glass wall that makes up the entire Western face and opens the communal living spaces into the outdoor environment surrounding the house.
Set below the main public spaces, lower down the slope, lie the children’s rooms. These are not, however, just bedrooms for sleeping. This portion of the house is an entire level meant for play and relaxation. From here to the main living room, a moveable ladder leads onto the mezzanine level, giving little ones a fun way to scramble upwards for meals or school.
Photos by Maxime Brouillet
Literally named Trentham Long House created by MRTN Architects to exemplify contemporary rustic design principles
By Courtney • May 22, 2019
In Trentham, Australia, a uniquely shaped and very long house that was recently finished by MRTN Architects has been appropriately dubbed the Trentham Long House. This stunning structure combines contemporary interior decor and slightly rustic building all in one seamless and interesting place.
The Trentham Long House sits comfortably nestled atop the Great Dividing Range on the edge of the sleep town of Trentham, about 100km outside the city of Melbourne. Once upon a time it was a gold mining town, but now it’s a calm, quiet country escape. The dwellers of Trentham value their home for its country air, which is crisp, cool, and incredibly fresh, and also for its quiet streets, which are most often free of traffic.
It makes sense, then, that this relaxing town is the perfect setting for a home that’s intended to feel a little bit like you’re stepping back in time, even though it still has all the sleek amenities of contemporary living. The house is a delicate balance of the simplicity of times of auld and the conveniences of modern home technology.
The house is more than just a semi-traditional throwback to simpler living. It’s actually part of a partially rural development that sits on the periphery of the small town and prioritizes low maintenance, energy efficient homes. The Long House in particular was build for an older couple who often have their children and grandchildren stays for visits. They requested a home that would harness the historical elements of the area and its local context but also provide a comfortable dwelling with easy living all year round. They also wanted to be able to host large family gatherings!
Though the house has several nearby neighbouring properties, its situated so as to feel serenely on its own. It bears expansive garden in both the front and the back, giving it quite idyllic views no matter where in the house you’re seated. The actual structure of the house is very unique indeed; rather than being one solid piece standing within shared walls, the Long House is actually a collection of contemporarily styled farm buildings that have been gathered under one very large gabled roof.
This sort of semi-attached building collective is actually typical of the traditional farming houses in the local area’s history. In fact, the goal to be authentic with the house was so well met that parts of it are actually upcycled buildings from real surrounding farms that were not longer in use.
The garage, for example, was once an old machinery shed. The main farmhouse, which is organized around a central and traditionally laid out farmhouse kitchen with its own wood burning stove, is new but several elements of it were built with reclaimed and locally sourced wood.
In terms of materiality, the house maintains a naturally subtle colour palette in the way it uses things that were sourced directly from the surrounding environment. The house is actually built with natural wear and tear over time in mind. The facade, which is made of gum wood cladding, will gain a natural patina as it weathers, which is specifically intended to add to the home’s historical character. This will blend it even more effectively into its natural surroundings than has already happened.
In the home’s interior functions, the buildings are divided according to function, so that the needs to low impact country life all make sense as you move throughout the space. There is also a blending of function in certain places. For example, there is a carport at one end of the long house that provides shade and coverage to the area directly next to it, which is a guest house. The overhand provides a buffer to the hot Australian sun.
Towards the far end of the house from the meandering driveway, you’ll encounter a row of mature eucalyptus trees. These are stunning to look at and provide shade, but they also have a functional purpose in the way they separate the relaxing home spaces from the parts of the land plot that actually feature more functionally working farm aspects.
In the main living spaces, the warm hearth is the centre of the house around which most things are arranged. It creates a lovely focal point that is also a clear and comfortable gathering place and delineates the seating and meeting area from the eating area. Because the interior decor scheme is so sleek and simple, actual architectural elements of these spaces are given more visual space, speaking to the home’s traditional senses.
Perhaps the most contemporary element of the home- the place where the contrast is most stark- is in the kitchen. Here, life seems more high tech with modern cooking facilities and glazed floor to ceiling windows with movable screens that can blend indoor and outdoor spaces. Moving towards the private sleeping spaces of the house, things feel more local and traditional again.
Photos by Anthony Basheer
Ultra contemporary and colourful Rombo IV created by Miguel Angel Aragonés to combine living space and art in new ways
By Courtney • May 22, 2019
In the beautiful Cuidad de Mexico area of Mexico, innovators at Miguel Angel Aragonés have built the Rombo IV building; a stunningly modern and artistic complex that houses three bodies and a studio space with plenty of awe-inspiring artistic features.
The “Rombos” are actually the four volumes of the building, which are carefully assembled together here to make a single stunning structure that stands out against the more traditional urban fabric within which it sits. The private wings are those where the three houses sit and the fourth volume sitting closest to the public street is where the studio can be seen.
The complex sits on a bustling central street in an area of Mexico City called Bosques de las Lomas. Despite such an urban setting, however, the presence of a tall, sprawling tree right at the door, which can be seen from just about any room inside the complex, makes it feel less foreboding in its contemporary nature and more welcoming and in tune with nature.
This natural theme continues around the back of the building towards the houses and their patios. Lush gardens and small bursts of greenery through the property make sure things feel tied to natural reality rather than seeming too surreal in all the shining white lines, gleaming marble, and colourfully lit artistic displays that can be seen from the street at night.
Water is a continuous theme throughout the complex as well. Several water features dot the patio spaces behind the houses like small pools while similar displays can actually been found inside the entryways and studio in the interior of the complex as well, adding a sense of bubbling serenity to the already calming space.
To take the beautifully reflective surfaces of the water features even further, many spots in the homes and studio feature large, crystal clear mirrors. This makes the space feel wide and free and also reflects the presence of green life, like the space is somehow a lush garden in every corner at the same time as it is sleek and cleanly contemporary.
The inspiration for including such natural features so heavily alongside such modern looking artistic displays and furnishings was to highlight how precious nature is, particularly within busy city settings. The whole complex has a sense of making space for not just art, but also vegetation, land, and water. All of this takes on a particularly surreal quality when the colourful light displays are set aglow at night.
Although there is so much to see from the street in the form of coloured lights or to gaze up on in the public art studio, privacy was actually still a massive priority for designers and owners alike. They wanted to establish a space of quiet, calm solitude, as though the only entities seeing it besides yourself might be the sun and the sky. This explains the presence of abstract screens, uniquely cut and shaped windows, and interesting partitions that obscure the view of the three private homes almost entirely, shifting focus to the features of the home that are specifically designed for other eyes.
The intention of the stunning light display you see in these photos was to add a sort of language and balance to the space. They contrast the hardness of the marble with a soft glow and the starkness of the white finishes with a splash of colour. They paint the home like a backdrop the way nature does to hard rock face and urban settings. Between these light displays and the way other art pieces within the studio play with shape, the effect is nothing short of breathtaking.
Uniquely Treehouse inspired house by Atelier Victoria Migliore features stilts, swings, and climbing nets just like the real thing
By Courtney • May 21, 2019
Located in a calm, quiet pine forest in Frehel, France, the incredibly unique and aptly named Treehouse by design innovators at Atelier Victoria Migliore is inspired by and truly harnesses some fun and authentic elements of an actual treehouse.
The house sits on a hill in the midst of the forest, nestled among the trees in a way that is at once quiet and cozy but also full of adventure and wildness. The structure itself, despite its rustic looking presentation, is very modern and entirely contemporary in its eco-friendly systems. In these ways, the house not only blends into the nature surrounding it but also respects it.
The specific plot on which the house was built is sandy, perfectly supporting the foundation and posts on which the shockingly light house actually sits. At its highest point in the air, the house is raised three metres off the ground, with screw piles driven deep into the ground elevating it. These piles are placed extremely strategically so as to not disturb the roots of the pine trees all around.
The house itself is a single rectangular structure made of locally sourced and mostly upcycled burned wood. The rectangle is not solid on all sides all the way around; instead, it features several voids where miniature sort of courtyards indent to accommodate trees and green space. The house is also heavy on stunning floor to ceiling windows all the way around its perimeter.
The way the windows and glass walls open onto raised outdoor spaces makes the home feel as though the woodland area surrounding it extends right inside and on into the main living spaces. Balconies and raised courtyards are featured up on the treehouse like platform with the rest of the house, making the whole raised experience of staying there consistent.
The wooden theme follows you inside, making the house blend well with its surroundings, but there are several other extremely unique features that made things seem almost ethereal as well. In the centre of the house, for example, a suspended open fish tank sits in a raised, open air patio space with the rest of the house organized around it.
Above this central patio, a suspended sort of net made from knotted rope covers the space between the sections of the roof where the courtyard space was made. Visitors can climb right up onto this space and use the netted spot as a hammock, relaxing with the sky above the fish tank.
As if that feature weren’t interesting enough, the house bears another treehouse-like characteristic over the edge of the deck, where two wooden and rope swings hang down towards the ground! Here, visitors and dwellers of any age can socialize and play together, swinging in the woodland breeze like they really are out playing in the treehouse in their childhood backyard.
Inside, things are a wonderful blend of modern and rustic. The gorgeously smooth light wood keeps things grounded in that intentional woodland feel but, at the same time, large windows and up to date appliances and amenities provide nothing but the most modern living experience. Huge windows in the bathrooms and bedrooms keep the house bright and cheerful no matter where you are.
The house truly is organized entirely around that central raised courtyard; Each room has a glazed glass wall in the centre where visitors and dwellers can look out upon the fish swimming around. These windows also let natural daylight and the warmth from the sun travel through the house, rather than just into it, helping make it more efficient to light and heat.
Photos by Cyril Folliot
In an expansive corner lot by a stunning lagoon, the JP Residence by Sarau Arquitetura provides a small family with a stunning Brazilian escape that takes the climate into account and feels almost like a relaxing private resort.
Located in Araçatuba, Brazil, the lot that the house is built on occupies almost 1200 square metres and stands only a single storey tall. The house has an intriguing trapezoidal shape and was specifically designed to take the climate into account, blending indoor and outdoor space and interior and exterior sensations like light and fresh air as seamlessly as possible.
Part of the way that designers chose to blend with outdoor spaces was to include lots of greenery in the design, both inside and outside. Along one side of the yard, for example, a garden extends the complete length of the 25 metre long swimming pool, which shines blue from the lush green lawns like an oasis.
The house was also organized according to the function of their spaces, with designers paying just as much attention to how the interior of the house is laid out as they did to how the indoor and outdoor spaces are organized. The intimate areas of the house are quite distinguished from the social areas, creating two sorts of sectors.
Part of what distinguishes the two areas from each other is the marked difference in ceiling height. In the private spaces, the ceilings are low and intimate, creating a cozy, friendly space that feels close in a pleasant way. This is balanced by the fact that one section of the ceiling is actually completely open to the sky!
In the public spaces, on the other hand, the ceilings sit rather high, creating an open effect filled with woodworked detail. The effect between this and the way the patio doors slide entirely open to blend the living and dining rooms completely with the green space outside. In fact, all of the public spaces are situated in the house such that they’re turned towards that stretching green space and sparkling blue pool.
In a transitionary space between the public and private space sits a bit of a service area. This is where you’ll find a guest bathroom, a relaxing sauna with a door nearby leading in from the swimming pool and hot tub, and technical areas like storage and other things one might need to take care of a house as an owner. This is also where access to a little ground floor balcony area is gained.
One of the most noticeable pieces in the living room is undoubtedly the fireplace. This is a vertically impressive structure that features stunning stonework reaching all the way up to the high ceiling of the social area. All around the fireplace, natural light floods into the living room, kitchen, and social area from sprawling floor to ceiling windows.
Leading to the master bedroom, the hallway features a set of large windows all the way down that sit right up against parts of the garden outside the window. Large green leaves sit right up against the glass, creating the illusion of a spa or calming jungle area. This plays off the natural ventilation and the skylights to make dwellers feel as thought they’re walking down an open air space instead of an indoor hallway.
In combination with the open air sense of space and the natural materiality of the interiors, which is heavy in wood and stone, the overall atmosphere in the house has a sense of synergy and calm that even visitors can sense immediately.
Photos by Lio Simas
Casa Puebla built by rdlp arquitectos to harness the beauty of a local volcano, like an architectural tribute
By Courtney • May 13, 2019
In the rocky, naturally impressive area of Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza, Mexico, innovative designers at rdlp arquitectos have recently completed the Casa Puebla, a stunning home influenced by the looming presence of the historically and locally important natural phenomenon, the Popocatépetl volcano.
Designers sought to make something conceptual and more artistic than the average home within this project while at the same time paying tribute to the local architectural landscape so as to keep the house from sticking out entirely like a sore thumb. The result was a stunning structure that is clearly inspired by aesthetic values typical of Mexican culture, but that is also unique, as though these traditional values have been viewed through a much more avant garde lens.
The overall atmosphere of the house feels fresh, warm, and contemporary. This is largely due to the materiality used, which was very intentional and locally sourced. Raw materials that reflect the natural landscape around the house were primarily used, creating a sense of cohesiveness that is only enhanced by he way certain place in the house are opened up to blend with the garden.
Colour palette plays a large role in communicating the design intentions of the house as well. The neutral and slightly dark shades featured from room to room, in context with the land’s plot and the materiality we’ve already discussed, blends the home’s architecture with its surroundings and really makes it look like a visual tribute to the volcano in the distance.
In terms of its layout, the house is organized into two rectangularly shaped intersection volumes meeting on their ends in an L-shape. This is another area of the house where designers got a bit conceptual; they’ve intentionally placed the larger, heavier looking volume of the house on top of the smaller, lighter looking one in order to create an interesting visual dynamic.
To further communicate the concept of blending indoor spaces and the house itself with its natural surroundings, glass has been largely prioritized in a stunning way. Floor to ceiling glass doors and wall panels, as well as large glazed glass windows, allow natural light to flow into the home all year round, reading just about every corner, keeping things bright, and providing dwellers and visitors with stunning views.
From the front of the house, where it can be seen from the street, the building actually looks quite closed off and as thought it might be dark inside. In reality, however, this is simply the way designers chose to situated heavier walls in order to maintain inner privacy. Upon entering the house, guests immediately notice that the space inside, which opens beautifully towards the back where the private yard and garden sit, is actually well lit and quite fluid, with very few boundaries between inner and outer spaces.
In addition to being quite sizeable horizontally thanks tot he generous size of its land plot, this house is also quite impressive in terms of its vertical space. The area near the entrance, for example, is double height. A visually appealing staircase that uses a combination of concrete and wood stretches upwards through this vertical space, becoming almost as decorative as it is functional.
On the ground floor, open concept layouts make the house feel fluid and accessible. The house is organized by functionality, but divisions are more visual and intuitive rather than actually being physical. This encourages family interaction without interrupting daily activities and busy life routines.
Private and more intimate spaces are located upstairs, where the bedrooms and family room can have their windows thrown open for a fresh air experience or be closed off by lovely wooden shutters when more privacy and quiet is desired. Traditional regional tiles are used in the decorative details here, hearkening back to that inclusion of local Mexican culture.
In addition to being almost artisanal in its design and structure, the house is also very green and sustainable. The prominence of sliding doors and windows helps with passive heating, cooling, and lighting and works with the natural weather patterns to reduce the need of electric and hydro powered systems, saving the family money and reducing the building’s impact on its environment.
Ventilation and the way that light and shadow play out in the space mean that the concrete heats or cools and regulates the temperature inside, all but eliminating the need for air conditioning. Even in these concrete-heavy areas, the ever present wooden element continues to establish stunning decorative contrast, rendering every part of the house visually appealing even where not much intentional decor itself has been included in a room’s overall scheme.
Solar energy plays a huge role in how the house functions as well. Although it’s not entirely solar powered by panels, the concrete facade that protects the inner rooms from overheating in the strong Mexican sun in the summer contributes to temperature regulation while sliding glass doors and wooden shutters can open the space out completely, letting breezes keep things cool or warm things up, depending on the time of year.
The final impressive and integral element of the house is its inclusion of nature right into its interior spaces. Besides just being open concept enough blend interior and exterior areas, the house itself also includes several water features and reflecting pools, as well as lush greenery spaces that are built into the home’s interior like rooms rather than just planted gardens.
Photos by Jorge Taboada
Peaceful Vietnamese dwelling called To’s House created by A+ StudiO to give owners a quiet, tranquil escape
By Courtney • May 8, 2019
Although it is located in the centre of a city, the recently finished home called To’s House is a peaceful haven. Specifically created by A+ StudiO to create a space for quiet and tranquility, this home in the city of Dalat, Vietnam, is an angular and relaxing space.
Rather than being located on a large, loud, or busy city street, To’s House is fortunate enough to have been built on a small plot in a quiet, pleasant little alley that is removed from the city centre. Already, this helps create a feeling of peace and privacy. Modelled after the concept of building a little house in the bed of a valley (which is what this city’s land used to be before it was populated), the whole shape and decor scheme of the house is centre around wanting visitors to feel peace and quiet with every visit.
Because the project is built on a very small area of land, it only occupies 200 square metres. A consequence of this is that the floor plan and shape is limited to having been formed entirely out of non-square lines and angles. Far from being constraining, however, this characteristic is actually one of the best aspects of the entire house.
Inside, the house is both divided and connected at once by a void-like duplex space. This spot serves a number of functions. Firstly, it connects the kitchen and dining rooms at the same time as it delineates them from the casual seated living rooms. Designers have purposely used open space as a marker here rather than solid walls in order to keep a sense of flexibility, openness, and free flow about the place.
In the centre of the house, a green space forms a relaxing hub around which much of the rest of the house is organized. Here, a series of trees and shrubs sits in an open central “lung”. This is a space that is open air so it can capture the breeze and sun. This does more than just look night; it also helps passively regulate temperatures inside the house.
In total, the house consists of two floors. The ground floor is home to two bedrooms, to bathrooms, and living room, and a dining and kitchen area. Continuing the theme established with the green lung in the centre of the house, these rooms feature large opening glass walls the let the kitchen and dining room blend almost completely with the patio, where more greenery sways serenely in the breeze.
Above these rooms, on the second floor, is a room that looks like a small attic from the outside. In reality, it’s actually home to a quietly breathtaking indoor garden! The space features lovely skylights that let in plenty of natural daylight so it feels like being outside in an open air garden despite the space being completely indoors when the windows are closed.
Part of this room features a glass covered void in the floor that opens into the central green courtyard on the bottom floor. This lets sunlight flow through the house from room to room a little better, regulating the indoor space even more and contributing to the fact that the garden feels so much like an actual outdoor garden.
Photos by Dung Huynh
High end V2 House modernized by Studio Guilherme Torres from original dwelling built by owner’s grandparents
By Courtney • May 8, 2019
On a spacious plot of land in one of the most high end neighbourhoods in all of São Paulo, Brazil, innovative design teams at Studio Guilherme Torres have recently completed a modernization project on the locally known V2 House, updating it from the original design chosen and contracted by the owner’s grandparents.
The impressive 1100 square metre residence has been recognizable in the area since it was first erected in the 1960s. It was designed to present a neoclassical style of architecture and decor, which is something the younger generation appreciates stylistically, but they desired a change to the slightly outdated floor plan, which was quite closed off and compartmentalized feeling.
The first step in redesigning the house was to reconceptualize the distribution of rooms and spaces inside the home. All parties involves wanted to open up internal spaces and create several new inner and outer structures that might render the house not just a home but, in fact, a piece of contemporary art suitable to the tastes of the new owner, a young DJ and music producer.
Certain elements of the original home’s very sophisticated and informal style were still preserved despite the younger owner’s more cutting edge tastes. For example, the materiality of certain spaces in the house is still heavy in timeless materials like ebony woodwork and white Brazilian marble.
In the interest of putting local talent and resources to good use, all of the stunning contemporary furniture now featured in the home was actually designed by the architect himself, who is also an innovative interior designer. This includes the fabric and leather covered modular sofas in the living and family rooms, which can be rearranged and reconfigured to suit the owner’s needs at any time.
Perhaps the most breathtakingly artistic piece featured within the house is the dramatic and loudly patterned dining table, which is purposely only accompanied by one singular chair. With visually interested pieces like this, the owner thought it best to keep artwork sparse save for a few of his favourite pieces from his personal collection. This lets artistic furnishings draw the eye and hold visitors’ attention.
In the hallway, which manages to stay bright thanks to the stark white floors despite the fact that it also has ebony walls, doors leading to extra features like the wine cellar are secreted along the dark vertical surfaces in a way that’s discreet and hardly noticeable to guests. Wine is one of the owner’s greatest passions outside his work, so the cellar is an integral feature of the home.
The upper floor is home to a master bedroom that is actually more of a multi-purpose suite. Integrated into the bedroom, the owner has a closet, a sprawling bathroom, and even a terrace, with hardly any divisions between them save those needed around the terrace for privacy from outside eyes. This privacy is provided by black perforated metal panels.
These panels, which are featured all around the top floor and not just near the sleeping area, give the upper floor a sense of adaptability and diverse space. Looking through them gives the world outside an almost pixelated quality, providing a nearly surreal feeling experience.
Photos by Denilson Machado
Mexican holiday home Aculco House created by PPAA Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados as a private escape completely surrounded by nature
By Courtney • May 2, 2019
In a serene and tranquil rural area of Mexico, innovative designers at PPAA Pérez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados have recently completed a stunning holiday home that is designed to blend into its surroundings and provide its dwellers with as authentic and relaxing a natural experience as possible.
The house is intended to be a home away from home that feels completely disconnected from the hustle and bustle of city life. The Aculco project was specifically designed to be used as a resting space, taking full advantage of the scientifically proven calming effects of natural environments. Here, those are provided by a lightly wooded area and a series of extremely impressive cliffs.
Originally, this structure was an abandoned old stone house that stood on land with absentee owners. Two brothers who were out on a climbing trip stumbled upon it by accident and fell completely in love with the area. They soon purchased the plot and home and hired this team to transform it into the holiday home it is today.
This, of course, was not before they cared for the land around the building for a number of years until they felt it was rehabilitated and ready for respectful change. Having reforested the area, they were able to replenish the natural setting to its peak lusciousness. By starting with the land and adjusting the house later, the brothers and their design team built a dialogue between the building and the land.
As the team tackled the house, they opted to interfere with its natural beauty and history as little as possible. Of course, maintenance was done to ensure that the house withstands the test of time and weathers well from here on out. Construction that did take place was done using locally sourced quarry blocks of the same kind that were there already.
These same blocks were also used to cover the floor of the house, which was a mud floor when the brothers first encountered it. Wood framing and detail and glass windows have been added, but the materiality that was already there has been largely preserved in the state it was already in, so long as that state was good and solid.
Now that the home is finished, it presents a stunning space that opens out entirely into its natural surroundings thanks to opening wooden shutters and sliding glass doors in each wall. The house is linear in shape with a bedroom that leads around a separating wall into a main living space and finally into a fully equipped kitchen.
The spaces in the homes interiors are wide open and have simple, easy flow throughout, with simple markers that delineate the rooms by their function without actually blocking them from one another in any way. This helps with air and sunlight flow as much as movement, letting the natural light from the wide open doors and the big, new windows reach every corner.
Photos by Rafael Gamo
Stilted V|M House created by WINTERI Arquitectura to overlook the water just beyond its grassy slope
By Courtney • Apr 29, 2019
At the basin of a lake and high up on wooden stilts, the V|M House, a house designed and built by WINTERI Arquitectura, provides a relaxing space specifically intended for relaxing escape and meditation.
The house is located in El Totoral in Chile, on the edges of Lake Llanquihue. It perches respectfully and light on a large slope lush with greenery and surrounded by agricultural fields that have a long history of generous crops behind them. The area isn’t actively producing crops anymore, but it still has a sense of farming charm about it; many of the original warehouses have been preserved where they’ve always stood.
The warehouses in the distance of the house do more than just contribute to the character of the area. They also hearken back to the history of the local land beyond its involvement in farming and crops. They also serve as a staunch reminder of the colonization of the area. In less melancholy terms, they contribute depth to V|M House’s view of the lake below it and the volcanoes by the horizon beyond.
In building the base structure of this house, designers wanted to work with the state and natural curvature of the land wherever possible, rather than building into or against it. This is how the raised and stilted form of its base was conceptualized. The house sits aloft on a metallic post and platform structure that provides stability and comfort to its inhabitants but also prevents it from interrupting the land with its foundation. In short, the raised end accounts for the land’s slope.
Regarding its interior functions, the house has two volumes. The lower floor is dedicated to daily life, shared spaces, and all the common activities of a regular family and their friends or guests. On the upper level, however, you’ll encounter calmer, more private spaces that are geared towards escaping busy routines, reaching a state of true relaxation, and facilitating meditation before sleep or starting one’s day.
In order to contribute to the home’s sense of relaxation and escape, designers wanted to maximize on the level of calming views and natural sunlight might be gathered into the house itself from any room or direction. This goal played a huge role in determining how the house is situated and where the windows sit. Good orientation was paramount in its design.
For the home’s exterior, designers provided a bit of weather-proofing by encasing it in corrugated zinc. This facade gives the home a strength and durability required for the weather in the area, but it also helps to camouflage the house a little more successfully into its surrounding environment. This metallic finish is paired with beautiful cypress wood, matching it to its environment even more effectively.
The interior scheme is heavy on wood as well. These are also light in tone because designers deliberately used locally sourced manio and cypress woods. These materials enhance the landscape, provide strength to the house, and contribute to the home’s decorative nature.
Outside, surrounding the end of the home that just out onto posts over the slop of the land, the house features a lovely porch that turns into a wrapping deck. The windows all along this section of the house light particularly the upper meditation volume in a breathtaking way while the deck itself provides nearly unparalleled views of the environment just outside the home’s doors.
Photos by Sofia Mezzano
Mississippi’s Gator House created by emerymcclure architecture to emulate owners’ childhood summers by the river
By Courtney • Apr 16, 2019
Have you ever had fond memories of a beautiful summertime getaway that you remember visiting and adoring as a child but that you haven’t been back to since? Well, that’s exactly the kind of nostalgia that motivated emerymcclure architecture‘s latest dream home project in Mississippi!
The Gator House is a stunning, sprawling Southern ranch style house that is modelled after the riverside escapes that the owners’ remember spending their childhood summers running along. Located in a slightly remote location off a busy state highway, the house was created alongside a false river that happened to present the perfect site for building.
In reality, the “little river” that Gator House sits along is actually part of an oxbow lake that was created naturally by the uneven flow of the much larger Mississippi River. This serene piece of waterfront lies in a skinny inlet in the river bank, surrounded by cypress trees that are at least 100 years old.
From the road leading up to Gator House down to the little lake, a slope steeps quite sharply towards the water. This slope is why one end of Gator House, which is a long, narrow building, stands on stilts! This way, designers were able to build with the natural terrain rather than cutting into it, while also keeping the floors of the house even and flat for comfortable living.
Gator House was designed as a sort of camp house for spending hot summer days in. The owners’ frequently spend weekends there and make visits during fishing season, staying for long periods of just a few days, depending on their schedule. Their space is fully equipped for permanent living but simple enough to clean and care for that it’s also the perfect place for mini stay-cations and bonding with family during special times, like an escape from everyday life.
Since the whole point of the lovely house is to emulate summers spent outdoors, doing things like camping, the house has been built with quite an open concept structure so that as much fresh air and sunshine can be sought as possible. A long deck, for example, provides a semi-outdoor social space where people can draw back the walls entirely for a warm breeze but also seek some shade from the hot Southern sun.
Indoor and outdoor bonding spaces like this are dotted all throughout the ground floor and all around the completely wrapping deck space. Inside, bedrooms featuring bunk beds and lots of room for guests can be found, decorated in a comforting, homey way. These things are part of what make Gator House the perfect summer retreat with family and friends.
Photos by James Osbourne IV